With the US company saying the Focus is the best selling nameplate in the world, no wonder its global sales of small SUVs such as the Escape and EcoSport manage to outsell the F-Series pickups by 2-to-1 in 2013.
Ford’s executives say the automaker sold a record 1.2 million SUVs globally in 2013, with US sales up 9.1% last year – which is less than the segment’s overall gain of 12%. Actually, the real gains come from today’s number one car market in the world, China, where Ford managed to up its market share from 0.3 percent in 2012 to 5%, with much of growth owed to such small SUV models.
“Most people think last year the F-series drove the company’s top line volume growth,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s global marketing chief, referring to the company’s truck line. “But our No. 1 vehicle was the Kuga-Escape and our No. 2 vehicle was the EcoSport. Together they had around a half million unit growth for us.”
Farley added that customers look to such smaller models because of the increased fuel efficiency and the added refinement – and Ford forecasts global SUV sales going up as much as 40% or 4 million models, by 2018.
“What drives our business more and more are these kinds of shifts,” Farley said. “And it’s not just one market, it’s everywhere. It’s going to have a big impact on our business.”
The gains in the SUV segment are aided by customers who shift for the added utility from conventional passenger cars to models like the Escape, named Kuga outside the US, and the even smaller EcoSport, who is not sold in America.